With its grand global premier and much-talked-about promotions, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Richard Madden’s spy-thriller series Citadel had ensured that fans’ expectations were set really high. It would be wrong to call the Amazon Prime Video show a ‘disaster of epic proportions’ but it fails to be an out-of-the-box spy series that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats, either.
Going by the first two episodes that were released today, the show is a usual spy story in which a secret agency, Citadel, is out to fight all-powerful destructive forces of the rich, corrupt and powerful clubbed together. At the end of the day, it is a good vs bad, saviour vs destructor story laced with some secrets and surprises and a lot of action thrown in.
Priyanka and Richard show off their linguistic skills as they exchange dialogues in Italian, English, Mandarin, German and Spanish. Perhaps a little too much of a show off for regular colleagues working together too often?
From the very first scene of the show, Priyanka as Nadia Sinh, clad in all red, commands screen presence. From the way she looks at the camera to her husky voice, she is deemed to be a seductive spy throughout the introductory episode. With a set of arms handed out to her for defence, she is told in a cliched tone, ‘Nothing more dangerous to a pervy old man than red lips,’ when asked why her arms included a red lipstick. Yet Priyanka manages to stand out with her near-perfect portrayal of Sinh, with a missing ‘g’.
Her Don 2 and Quantico action experience come in handy and she outdoes herself. In fact, watch the show for her, for she makes it impossible for the audience to tear their eyes away from the screen whenever she steps in. Be it as the seductive Sinh, as the wounded spy with her memories deleted or her comeback in the second episode where she regains her memories.
Memories of Citadel spies are often wiped out when danger is sensed only to be stored in a device and regained with an injection shot. This leads both Priyanka and Richard on their individual journeys in search of themselves for eight years until their paths cross again and they recollect who they are.
Game of Thrones fame Richard, on the other hand, is not bad either. He aces the action sequences and kicks in a few unbelievable acts. For instance, he trusts a stranger – Bernard Orlick (Stanley Tucci) when he says he is a former colleague and sets off with him on an unplanned and dangerous mission leaving his wife and daughter behind. Lesley Manville as Dahlia Archer does her bit well in playing the calm yet fearful arch-nemesis of Citadel.
Russo Brothers, who produced the show helmed by David Weil, bring in their Marvel universe action experience and a so-called larger than life attitude into the series but fail to actually make Citadel any bigger than a cliched spy series. The show has received mixed reviews from audiences with some calling Priyanka the best part of the show while some calling the show a $300 million debacle altogether.
With the Indian (starring Varun Dhawan and Samantha Ruth Prabhu) and Italian franchises of the show unfolding and merging into one, it is yet to be seen if the series really takes off and reaches the global epic stature it promises to be. The Indian counterpart is being helmed by Raj & DK of The Family Man fame who are known to bring out the best of stories on screen and the best out of Samantha, who made her pan-India debut with the show.
The next four episodes of Citadel‘s six-episode first season will be a sneak peak into its future. What is needed is a more complex, layered storytelling with a not-so-obvious storyline that is expected out of this genre.
Citadel is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video